What Historians Can Learn from the Social Sciences and Sciences

tags: psychology, evolution, social science, neurohistory, neuroscience, brain, Big Data

Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.

Big History

  • The Big History Project:  "It is a course that covers history from the big bang through to the present in an interdisciplinary way." (Funded by Bill Gates)
  • Cosmos:  A Spacetime Odyssey 

  • Statistical Approaches to History

  • Can Math Be Used to Better Understand History? By Peter Turchin

  • History and Neuroscience

  • Carol Tavris: History Gets Into Bed with Psychology, and It’s a Happy Match
  • Edward Shorter: Historians Aren't Intellectually Equipped to Understand Science
  • Robin Lindley: How Memory Works: Interview with Psychologist Daniel L. Schacter
  • Daniel Lord Smail: History Meets Neuroscience
  • Christopher U.M. Smith: What Can Historians Learn from Neuroscience?
  • Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient

  • Neurohistory:  Background

  • What Is Neurohistory? (UCLA)
  • Clio's Psyche and the Psychohistory Forum
  • John Alford, Carolyn Funk, and John R. Hibbing: “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” (2005)
  • James Druckman, Foreward to Man Is By Nature a Political Animal
  • Study of Memory in Psychology
  • Quirks of Memory Everyone Should Know
  • How Memory Speaks by Jerome Groopman

  • Neuro-/Social Science-Based Analysis & Commentary

  • E.O. Wilson: Why Nations Fight
  • Hindsight is not such a wonderful thing after all say scientists 
  • Robin Lindley: The Science (and History) of Disgust: Interview with Psychologist Rachel Herz on Understanding Human Repulsion
  • Andrew M. Obritsch: How Does Obama's Personality Stack Up Against FDR's?
  • Andrew M. Obritsch and Aubrey Immelman:  Mitt Romney’s Leadership Style
  • Michael Trimble: The Evolutionary and Social History of Crying
  • What Really Killed William Henry Harrison?
  • The Psychology of Hate: How We Deny Human Beings Their Humanity

  • Big Data

  • The 100 most important figures from history
  • Computer scientists say they figured out how to rank historical figures
  • Historians still needed! (Where Big Data goes wrong)
  • Climate Change

  • Climate Change:  HNN Index

  • Books

    "In Man Is by Nature a Political Animal, Peter K. Hatemi and Rose McDermott bring together a diverse group of contributors to examine the ways in which evolutionary theory and biological research are increasingly informing analyses of political behavior."

    "In Political Psychology: Neuroscience, Genetics, and Politics, scholar George Marcus provides a cutting-edge introduction that discusses the field's origins, evolution, and possibilities.... [T]his ... volume includes a ... account of the ideas that underpin political psychology-- [from] Ancient Greece ... to today-- highlighting the deep intellectual roots and continuous vitality of the field." 


    "Our political Nature is the first book to reveal the hidden roots of our most deeply held moral values. It shows how political orientations across space and time arise from three clusters of measurable personality traits. These clusters entail opposing attitudes toward tribalism, inequality, and differing perceptions of human nature. Together, these traits are by far the most powerful cause of left-right voting, even leading people to regularly vote against their economic interests." 


    "In The Secret Life of Pronouns, social psychologist and language expert James W. Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research in computational linguistics-in essence, counting the frequency of words we use-to show that our language carries secrets about our feelings, our self-concept, and our social intelligence. Our most forgettable words, such as pronouns and prepositions, can be the most revealing: their patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints."

    Of interest to historians: His research can help us understand when a leader is planning on war and under stress. The research also helps us understand who presidents really are ... social or withdrawn, secure or uncomfortable in their own skin.

    "Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere"


    Peter Hatemi explains how biology is changing our views on politics. 

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